We have reconsidered a simple Maier-Saupe model of a nematic liquid crystal introduced by one of us a few years ago. A systematic exploration of the phase diagram using density-functional theory has revealed that, for sufficiently anisotropic interaction potentials, ordinary liquid-vapour coexistence is pre-empted by a direct transition between a low-density disordered fluid phase and a nematic phase. Furthermore, coexistence between two nematic phases has been found, for fluids characterized by soft repulsive isotropic interactions, in addition to the hard-core and Maier-Saupe potentials.

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Journal Mol. Phys.
Teixeira, P.I.C, & Telo da Gama, M.M. (1995). A model nematic liquid crystal revisited: some new phase diagrams from density-functional theory. Molecular Physics, 86, 1537–1543.